Hooker Malcolm Marx is adamant there’s no hint of fear within the Springbok camp that they might have lost their winning momentum having last played internationally 19 months ago.
Due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, South Africa’s last match came in the 2019 World Cup final against England. Now, as the world champions prepare to go into battle against Georgia and the British & Irish Lions, many are questioning their readiness for a long-awaited return to the international stage.
As it stands, the Boks’ two-Test series against Georgia will serve as warm-ups in the buildup to the highly anticipated Lions series. That, however, means South Africa will only have two games – against a tier-two nation no less – under the belt before fronting Gatland’s star-studded Lions.
Speaking during an official Springbok online media briefing on Monday, Marx – who had been based in Japan, where he plies his trade for the Kubota Spears – said there is no need to worry about South Africa’s sharpness when asked about a potential fear factor regarding a loss of momentum.
“For me personally, not really,” he said. “It’s a world pandemic, so we at least have the benefit of doubt. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to play and that’s something we’ll have to deal with. But for me personally, no [there’s no fear].”
As one of five Japan-based players selected in the Bok squad alongside Franco Mostert, Kwagga Smith, Jesse Kriel and Willie le Roux, Marx gave an honest assessment when asked whether their level of physicality had diminished below what is required at Test level because of their participation in the Japanese Top League.
“We don’t know right now. We obviously have to see if we get selected to play in the first game against Georgia,” he explained.
“The game over in Japan is quick, but that’s not to say it’s not physical. It’s still a challenge, just a different sort of challenge,” Marx added.
“But we’ll wait for the Test against Georgia to see where we are physically and fitness wise.”
Photo: Steve Haag Sports